Friday, October 03, 2008

New Beginning 558

Addy Harper climbed the stairs of the Harper Street Shelter for what she sincerely hoped was the last time that day. She was tired all the way down to her bones, and there was nothing in the world she wanted more than a hot bath and a chance to climb between her pretty floral sheets for eight blissful hours.

She made it into her office and through the phone messages that Sandy had left on her desk. She'd worked a head-pounding ten-hour day today, then spent another precious two hours schmoozing potential donors at a gallery opening in Old Tucson. Her feet hurt, her head hurt, and exhaustion was making her stupid.

The financial woes of the shelter, always touch and go, had taken a big hit a month ago, when they learned they were losing a grant due to lack of future funding.

"I'm sorry, Addy," Mike Green had told her, real regret in his eyes. "Feds are cutting funding at every level. We're just not going to have it to give this year."

Addy had nodded, knowing Mike's hands were tied by the political climate. With a heavy heart, she'd called in the bookkeeper. They wrestled long into the night with a brainstorming session the likes of which Addy had never known, and at last came up with a plan to close the funding gap. Two hectic weeks later they had completed the reorganization and opened the Harper Street Shelter and Organ Bank.

Now, exhausted but with a clear sense of hope, Addy began thumbing through the list of potential donors she'd found pan-handling outside the gallery.

Opening: Debhoag......Continuation: ril


Anonymous said...

love you, Ril! I think your continuation is better than the original.

Anonymous said...

I just can't help but think that nothing she could have gone through that day is as hard as what the residents in the shelter probably went through, and the residents probably can't look forward to anything as nice as a hot bath and pretty floral sheets. Plus she either got her job through nepotism, or named it after herself. So I start out with less than zero sympathy for the protagonist.

That might be the point, if this is a clever, satirical short story. If that's not the case, you need to do something about how she's presented.

EB said...

Just a quick drive-by, but I think you can drop the third paragraph. Tweak that "exhaustion was making her stupid" to transition a bit to the dialogue from Mike Green.

Stacy said...

I like the opening. The continuation, as is ril's usual, was just stellar. I'm always amazed at how layered his continuations are.

Okay, but I should give more attention to the opening. Or is it a scene? It's hard to make a comment if you don't know whether it's an opening or not. If it is, I think it works pretty well, but it's rather myopic. It focuses solely on Addy's day. I feel like I need a couple of statements that give me a larger context. Is the whole book about Mike and Addy trying to save the shelter? I'd read on (for a while, at least) to see if anything interesting happens. But all in all, I think this is well-written and engaging.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

"Darn," said Addy. "I'd hate to dip into my trust fund from Granddaddy's sell of Harper's Bizarre. There's only a few billion left." Addy sighed. "A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do."

--Bill H

Evil Editor said...

We don''t need the last sentence of p.2, as the last sentence of p.1 tells us the same thing.

You could dump p.4 and change the end of p.3 to : ...due to federal cutbacks. (If Mike Green is a major player in the book/story, you can put him in p.3 as well; instead of "they learned," "Mike Green told them.")

Dave Fragments said...

This seems like such a nice opening and when I read it, it gives me a comfortable feeling - all warm and home-like. Now it the thought is going through your head that I'm buffing you up before taking a shot, you're right.

I don't know what happens next, so I'll make up a surprise from her lover - Al. She hears a noise behind her and she is at first frightened, turns and then sees Al, is relieved and wildly happy. They kiss and make out on the desk.

Chances of that happening - 1,000,000 to one. But it's more exciting than trudging up the stairs to the office. If this were a fashion show, Tim Gunn would now turn and say "make it work" ...

Your writing is easy to read and entertaining. The emotions come through. Even the tiredness and drudgery come through.

Give us a little excitement.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Sounds like an interesting story. I would really like to see the action, the dialogue that happens rather than read about how it just happened and I missed it. And now I get to hear about the aftermath.

none said...

This lacks a clear focus for me. What's the opening about--the gruelling day Addy's had, the funding issue, the meeting with Mike? At the moment it seems to be trying to be about all three and it's flittering around like a moth battering a flame.

Focus :).

Dave Fragments said...

This is a resend.
I like this opening, sort of. But I want it to get to some action more than her climbing stairs and feeling worn out.

Maybe she hears a noise and gets scared and turns to find her current lover. They make out on her desk.

Or she finds a thief and fights him to the death.

Something with action.

Stacy said...

Ah, I wondered what was wrong.

Again, I liked this opening. Yet I too want a little more action, something to put the story in a larger context.

The continuation was great.

Whirlochre said...

I'm OK with this, though EE's suggestions might sharpen it up.

Just a couple of minor niggles.

I'd go with her being tired all the way through to her bones and cut 'today'.

WouldBe said...

Solid writing. Perhaps one of the particularly needy clients could pass by--and if there's room left in the opening--who Addy has to turn down because of funds.

writtenwyrdd said...

I couldn't tell from this beginning from this first paragraph she's leaving for the evening or arriving for the day of work. Seems a bit too saccharine, like it's begging for sympathy. I can hear violins in the background...

I also didn't like that the shelter was named after her.

After the first paragraph I think it works well, though, and I would have read on further--so long as this doesn't settle into bathos.

Anonymous said...

You raise an interesting question for me, because about two graphs later, several issues y'all raise get opened up. How much is fair to explain in a continuation, though? Seems like it should have to stand on its own two feet.

Thanks for the comments, everybody, as per usual, many helpful ideas, and I'm delighted.